Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Glass Fusing 101 Beyond Basics


Great glass work is the product of a strong foundation and knowledge base. So, let’s go back to the basics and make sure you’re clear on the fundamentals that produce consistent, high quality artwork.
Fusing Fundamentals-Beyond Basics

Wherever you are in your glass fusing journey, newbie or advanced artisan, I believe we can all benefit from reviewing construction basics on occasion. Here’s why: 

Excited newbies are usually so eager to cut glass that they don’t really hear the guidelines and they lack the experience to realize the relative importance of these recommendations on their finished project. While advanced crafters are absorbed in the creative process and the end result, to the point that they can go blind to the practicality of solid construction. 

Then there are those dare devils who’ve stumbled onto glass fusing and are immediately hooked. They dive right in giving little, if any, consideration to protocol. You know who you are. You fire first and ask later. 

No matter how you came to call yourself a fuser, this is for you.

Let’s start at the beginning.  

Glass Fusing- Defined 

Glass fusing is the process of taking compatible glass, stacking it to make a pattern or design and then firing it in a kiln until the glass melts together. Simple, right? Now, let’s build from there. 

Glass Fusing Fundamentals  



Volume Control – The Foundation for Quality Work  

What is volume control, and why is it important?

Volume control is the relationship between how a project is assembled and its finished size, shape and thickness after fusing. It’s a formula you can use to accurately predict how your project will look and feel after it’s been fired. 

Let’s say you want to fuse a series of glass tiles to make a back-splash for your kitchen. But you can only fit 20 tiles in your kiln at one time, and you need 200 tiles to complete the job.

With what you’ll soon learn about volume control, every tile from the first to the last will match beautifully. Or, let’s say you have a tropical fish pattern you’d like to work into a larger project. Here, the size and shape of the finished piece is very important to you. If the fish shrinks or grows in size, it could ruin the entire design. 


Another thing to consider, is whether or not you intend to slump your fused glass. The fused glass must fit neatly inside the mold, not on the rim, or it will slump unevenly to one side. This is where volume control comes into effect. With it, you’ll know how to compensate for any potential growth in advance of fusing your glass. (A good rule of thumb is to measure the mold and then cut your glass ¼ inch to ½ inch smaller than that measurement.) 

You have choices when it comes to how to assemble your projects. Different methods of construction will result in different project characteristics. Our goal here is to give you the tools to make educated decisions when selecting your technique so you have greater control and more satisfying results.  



How Glass Reacts to High Heat

Fused glass seeks a thickness of ¼ inch. That means a project made with a single layer of 1/8” thick glass will shrink. When it shrinks, the edges roll in and can become sharp. This shrinkage causes inconsistencies in the glass thickness. It’s usually surprisingly thick around the perimeter and thin in the middle. A project made by layering two pieces of 1/8” thick glass is likely to retain its original size and shape and will have a consistent thickness throughout. While a project made by layering three pieces of 1/8” thick glass will grow. When it grows, the shape distorts, and a square becomes a bad circle.  

Before starting a project, ask yourself how it will be used. If it’s an ornament, a single layer might be your best method of assembly due to the loose, freeform shape and its light weight. If the piece is intended to be a decorative bowl, the two-layer assembly would be my choice. It has a clean, rounded edge quality and is consistent in thickness throughout. Now, if I were making a patterned sheet of glass to cut up with my saw, I’d go for the three-layer approach. In this example, the finished size and shape of the fused glass blank is irrelevant because the fused glass will be cut up.

How the placement of accents effect the size and shape of fused glass.




My Building Process

Most of my work is assembled with the two layer, plus accent method. I refer to the bottom layer as the base and the second as the design layer. The base layer and design layer are the same shape and size. The base layer is often a single piece of clear, but not always; sometimes it’s made up of cut pieces. The second design layer can be a single piece of glass, but often, its pieces fit together to make a specific pattern or design. The third accent layer is minimal, and it usually consists of small fusible elements that enhance the design theme. I choose to build this way because I get consistent results time after time. The finished size and shape of the artwork is predictable. The pieces come out of the kiln with beautiful rounded edges and a consistent thickness that is both attractive and durable.   



It’s All Good   

Keep in mind, there’s no single right or wrong way to make any project. Personal preference, design style and function, should all play a role in helping you decide which approach is best. The objective is to consciously choose your fabrication method based on a solid understanding of the medium, rather than on a whim. 

There are always exceptions to the rules. The minute I make finite rules for myself, I break them. So, I’ve learned not to box myself in. You shouldn’t either. 

Enjoy the journey. The destination will take care of itself.

Here’s to Happy Fusing!
Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks! 




NEW Webinar Dates for 2019
Upscale Fusing Webinar
January 31, 2019

Incorporating pattern and texture to elevate and refine your fusing style are the focus of this in-depth webinar.

Join me and learn how to tastefully blend various cutting-edge techniques to add dimension and volume to your work.

With the pro's secrets revealed, you'll be on the fast-track to developing winning combinations that will get your work noticed!


Advanced Glass Fusing 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
February 5 – 8, 2019
Join me for this intense workshop held in my private studio.
Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.

Are you ready to take your glass skills and talent to the next level and make exhibition quality artwork?  

Join me for four exhilarating, fun-filled days of fusing. You’ll advance your own personal design style, make multiple exceptional large scale pieces of art and gain the confidence and know-how to take control of your artistic future.

This is the turning point experience you’ve been waiting for.


Get Ready for the Glass Craft and Bead Expo
Las Vegas, NV
April 3-7, 2019

Class Registration is Now Open
Join me for an exciting week for fun and fusing! Here’s my lineup of classes for 2019.

WE-16 - Fired Up! Fusing for the Adventurous
TH-08 - Painting with Frit
FR-18 - Breaking Through – Making Exhibition Quality Art
NEW SA-22 - Sculptural Fused Glass Art
NEW SU-01 - Gallery Quality Fused Glass Made Easy


Fusing for the Adventurous
April 11, 2019

Get ready to push boundaries, challenge trusted techniques and enjoy the thrill of limitless possibilities. Join me in this comprehensive hands-on webinar and learn how easily you can put tried and true methods to use in unlikely, innovative ways to create original art.

You’ll learn how to successfully employ different techniques to produce dramatic effects and take your work to an exciting, new level of sophistication.

Beginner and advanced fusers alike will find inspiration, motivation and renewed artistic freedom from the combination of techniques shown. In addition, you’ll receive a detailed outline with project specific guidelines and Lisa’s custom firing guides.

Armed with your newfound skills, you’ll be eager to experiment and incorporate these techniques to turn your creative visions into reality. You’ll have the burning desire, and the cool confidence, to take your passion to greater heights. 



Learn at home at your own pace. Instructional Videos are here!




Check out my writer’s website.
  


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

3 Advanced Glass Fusing Tips – Take Your Work to the Next Level




Except from my Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop

Advanced fusing is a broad term. What does it mean to advance? 

Advancing is moving beyond your current skill level. It’s challenging your abilities and developing your talent and learning how you can make exceptional artwork that exceeds everyone’s expectations. 

If this sounds like a huge, insurmountable task or an unrealistic goal for you, you’re not alone. Compressed into one sentence, the enormity of advancing ones craft can be a daunting motivation crusher. But don’t worry. Once we break down the steps you’ll be primed, ready and truly excited about taking action. 

Here are three top tips pros use to break through and make exhibition quality art.  

1 Be a Master of Color



Color plays an important role in the effectiveness of your art. The colors you select convey your message. You, as the artist have the power to swing the viewers mood from tranquil, bright and cheery to thought-provoking, stirring and stormy. When planning a new project, I consider what type of impression I want to leave and then select colors that support that intention. Reds are active and emotional. Blues are soothing, they suggest tranquility. While yellows represent happiness and contentment. Choose your colors carefully and then use them with purpose to draw the viewer into your magical world.  

2 Pick a Pattern



Including patterns in your art is an essential way to increase the visual intricacy and attractiveness of your artwork. The whole idea is to capture interest and hold it as long as possible. Patterns add dimension which increases interest. This entices the viewer and engages them longer. Pattern also shows an increase in artistic exploration and creative skill on your part, and that always gets noticed.

Patterns can be simple and geometric or intricate and organic. I decide how to use pattern based on the artistic style I’m going for. For traditional designs, I like to use structured, linear patterns that illustrate organization and planning, while contemporary designs are great places to use free-flowing patterns. In effect they increase the visual movement throughout the artwork. Whatever style you chose, pattern adds drama that increases the visual quality of any piece. 

3 Go Sculptural 

  
Shape up. The fastest and simplest way to ramp up your artwork and advance to the next level, is to create a unique shape, and go sculptural. Sculptural pieces always have higher visual impact that translates into an increased perceived value. This is the key to taking your work from a craft or a hobby to the threshold of fine art. We are so fortunate to be working with a medium that we can manipulate and shape any way we want. Take advantage of that and you can transform ordinary into the extraordinary. 

Try using slumping molds in different ways. I combine molds to build unique shapes no one else has seen. Or I fuse several small pieces and then glue them together to create a freestanding, three dimensional tower. You can do it too. Start small. Then as you gain confidence go bigger and more elaborate.   
 
The big difference between making ordinary pieces and repeatedly producing one-of-a-kind original art is planning. 

When it’s time to make something new and exciting I begin by asking myself, what style do I want to make. Then I consider what mood the art should provoke and select an appropriate color palate. Then I layout a pattern that will reinforce my selected style.  My next step is to plan what form the finished artwork will take. I ask myself, how can I manipulate the shape of the glass and display it in a unique and unexpected way that will be amazing? Then I begin the process of construction. 

I don’t always have all the answers at the beginning. But I do follow my original plan to its natural end. Often, new directions present themselves during fabrication, but I stay true to my plan. I’ll take notes on the new possibilities and revisit them later with my next new undertaking. Sometimes deviations are inevitable, like when an idea or technique fails to produce the results I had hoped. Then I go back to the first three tips, regroup and forge ahead. 

If improving your glass skills and growing your artistic style are on your 2019 list, I’m here to help you achieve success. I hope this insight helps you overcome obstacles so you can make the art of your dreams.  

Wherever you are in your artistic journey, you’re doing a great job! Keep going. Never settle. You are an amazing talent. Shine on!     

Except from my Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop

Happy fusing!
Lisa

Follow my blog for more tips and tricks! 




NEW Webinar Date for 2019
Upscale Fusing Webinar
January 31, 2019

Incorporating pattern and texture to elevate and refine your fusing style are the focus of this in-depth webinar.

Join me and learn how to tastefully blend various cutting-edge techniques to add dimension and volume to your work.

With the pro's secrets revealed, you'll be on the fast-track to developing winning combinations that will get your work noticed!



Advanced Glass Fusing 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
February 5 – 8, 2019

Join me for this intense workshop held in my private studio.
Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.

This is the turning point experience you’ve been waiting for.

What drives artists? What drives you?
Is it artistic curiosity? The thrill of challenging your skills? The adventure of new discoveries? I believe it’s all the above. When you’re ready to take it up a notch, I’m ready to take you there.

Warning: this workshop is for bold, determined and driven artists who are ready to take control of their artistic future.  

Here’s what you’ll learn in my upcoming Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop.

The power of color selection and how to use it to your advantage to control visual flow.
How to create intricate patterns and add texture to increase the impact and desirability of your finished artwork.
How to build and use multiple, complex components in combination to create original art that reflects your own personal artistic style. 
Advanced techniques for producing gallery quality, sculptural pieces of glass art.
How to make unique bases and use custom-made stands that flatter your masterpieces.
Pro finishing techniques that’ll elevate your work well above the ordinary.
Plus, you’ll learn professional tips and trick for quality fabrication, as well as, practical kiln operation and you’ll receive my project specific firing guides.
projects, the creative momentum you gain working for four consecutive days and the well-appointed classroom.


Get Ready for the Glass Craft and Bead Expo
Las Vegas, NV
April 3-7, 2019
Class Registration is Now Open
Join me for an exciting week for fun and fusing! Here’s my lineup of classes for 2019.

WE-16 - Fired Up! Fusing for the Adventurous
TH-08 - Painting with Frit
FR-18 - Breaking Through – Making Exhibition Quality Art
NEW SA-22 - Sculptural Fused Glass Art
NEW SU-01 - Gallery Quality Fused Glass Made Easy


Learn at home at your own pace. Instructional Videos are here!


Check out my writer’s website.